Pre-eclampsia is also a leading cause of maternal mortality, killing one woman globally every six seconds, according to the UK's Action on Pre-eclampsia (APEC). Earlier detection and intervention could save lives.
Standard blood pressure and urine tests are unreliable, and there is a lot of scope for "user error", according to Michael Rich, chief executive of APEC. In addition, high blood pressure can be caused by a variety of factors other than pre-eclampsia, and even when a woman develops pre-eclampsia, problems with high blood pressure may not occur until the latter stages.
The new test works by monitoring levels of urate, a salt of uric acid, increased levels of which are thought to be due to impaired kidney excretion in pre-eclampsia.
'A salivary urate test is simple, non-invasive, quick and cheap and can be done at any time. As a metabolic test independent of blood pressure, it may obviate the need for hospital admission,' said retired hospital rheumatologist Brian Owen-Smith, who invented the test.
The trial, which will eventually involve 1000 women, is underway at St Richards Hospital in Chichester. Trial subjects send away saliva-wiped swabs for analysis. Results are expected early next year. The ultimate aim is to develop a "traffic light" detection kit for use in the home.
Pre-eclampsia is thought to be the result of problems relating to the implantation of the p
Source:Society of Chemical Industry